What are their views on how to balance budget concerns vs maintain quality and standards? There are lots of folks talking about decr the town's assessment to the RSC, but how are they going to also ensure quality and opportunity for our students.
I do not think the budget and standards necessarily have to go together. I think first we need to figure out what is needed and not. We need to do away with unnecessary spending. In the district there are a lot more admin jobs than needed that take up a lot of cash flow. I am not saying to cut these positions but going forward we do not need extra people doing extra jobs that are not being used to help the students.
It has helped me going over the budget of FY21 that Tori Silvia put together in an easier format to comprehend and manage to look over what is spent in each school and town. It is a direct way to see where the money is going. This will make it easier to assess for the school committee and the public to understand. I feel on the School Committee meetings when questions are asked about the budget, they dodge the question. Either someone does not have the data in front of them or they will get back to you etc. We do not need to circle back on items that should be answered specifically and directly. There is NO reason if a resident has a question about the budget it cannot be answered in public view.
If there was a further outbreak of COVID, partic w/in the schools, how would they respond to that? It's quite vogue to say "get em open" but you cannot be blind to the opposite possibility of a reversal of re-opening if circumstances require.
I can only say I hope this does not happen. With that being said, I have and will always be for keeping schools OPEN. A choice is a must as well. Virtual learning has been going on for a year now and we have figured out what works and does not work. I do believe outsourcing the distance learning program can be effective to students and teachers. Seekonk, MA did this and I believe it has helped teachers tremendously.
From a mental health perspective, kids are suffering and they cannot continue to suffer if another pandemic ensues. It is now evident more than ever kids thrive in school socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. Too many kids have suffered academically, socially, and mentally we cannot ignore this. If we are putting students first then we should truly put their academic and mental health needs first.
I do not believe the union should be in charge of making demands on schools re-opening. I believe this should be done by the residents and School Committee. The union has been vocal about keeping schools closed despite the first survey in the fall and the most recent survey both showing the majority of Rehoboth parents want their kids in person. I feel teachers who want to go back are being ostracized and in fear of how they will be treated if they leave the union or go against what the union reps say.
IF the town votes to separate K-8 from the RSC, how do they envision the administration of that new district? How do they intend to ensure Rehoboth students progress to the point they need to by 8th grade so they are ready to join the Dighton kids @ DRRHS?
This is a hot question right now. I think we would need think about this as more of a financial standpoint and decision-making process between the two towns. I think if we separate K-8 it could help each town focus on their specific needs and wants for their residents. We would not need to consult and agree with Dighton for K-8 on certain concerns. This could help streamline things to get them done efficiently in the future.
Getting the students ready to enter the high school would be similar to what the schools do now to get them ready to enter DR. Getting students ready for high school is a goal no matter what school you attend.
What is your stance on teachers and students returning to full time in school learning?
I assume everyone knows my stance by now. I have been advocating for this since the summer. I say advocating because I am and always will be for choice and both sides. IF you do not want to return to in-person learning, virtual should be offered for whichever reason needed. We as a district should not be asking parents why they want to continue virtual - that is their right to choose.
I have been accused of not listening to others’ opinions and narrative. That is not factual, and never has been. I want to listen to others’ thoughts and opinions but in a simple analogy I as an avid Red Sox fan will never be a Yankees fan. I can respect the team as a whole and players on the team but do I want them to win and no one is going to convince me otherwise. That does not mean I am taking anyone’s opinions away but it is not productive to keep debating on such an issue. I have stated my opinion and you have yours. We do not need to agree but can agree we all should have a voice and a choice.
Teachers as well as any other staff should have the choice to teach in person or not, but if they do not want to teach in person (without a documented medical condition), this does not mean they should continue to teach in the district. This may not be what people want to hear but this is my honest opinion. Just like with the changing times and standards, parents are now are exploring options like keeping students in public school, homeschooling, and/or attending private school if public school is not meeting their needs, it should be up to teachers, admins, any other staff to adhere with the guidelines that have been set or explore other options.
Teachers. vs. Teachers Union
These are entirely two different entities. The Teachers Union is supposed to be a voice for the teacher. During COVID I have found this not to be true for some teachers. The union has made unrealistic demands and negotiations in order for teachers to return to school. The UNION has cited "safety" as the main concern. When the CDC and other schools around the country remain open without being super spreaders what qualifies as "safe" in our district?
The air filtration has in our district been deemed up to standard. Masks have been provided to teachers. Yes, a few masks, and maybe not as many as necessary, but ask yourself this "Have we all had to buy our own masks and extra hand sanitizer etc. during this pandemic?" "YES". I myself have had to buy face shields, extra cleaning products, etc. for my office and had the expense of putting a door directly into my office to help bypass the waiting room for clients. I am going to write all of this off as a tax expense. I think teachers can or anyone else can write these products off as an added expense during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am not a tax expert, but I am definitely going to look into it myself.
Another concern I have with the union is when a teacher or teachers go against what they want it is not a pleasant experience. I have spoken to many teachers who have wanted to go back right from the start but when they try to speak up it goes unheard or even one teacher (not in this district) has had her classroom messed with because she went on social media speaking up about this.
The union reps in our district have stated it is about money. This statement was from June 2020 but I do not see much changing. Here is the statement:
“…and finally, if this pandemic causes remote learning in the fall moneys will be freed up from other budget items (fall sports, school supplies, busses, energy costs ……) and it will be better for people cut. A lot of “ifs” I’m going grey fast.”
Another concern of mine is the Teachers Union has made the highest donations to the Biden Harris Campaign. Taking away looking at who they donated to, if the teachers union is using the argument that we need more money to fund education, fix schools, money PPE etc for teachers "safety" they would find a way to donate not to a political affiliations but to funding schools and teachers. This is just my thought process. I am not a politician and do not claim to be one. My morals include “practice what you preach”. I guess this is not true with the teachers union. Students and staff are not first in this thought process. I'll say it one more time - I am not a politician so maybe I have it backwards.
Also, many protests to stay remote have been done. If this is what you believe then please advocate. With these protests happening the teachers and the Massachusetts Union Rep Merrie Najimy, has not been 6ft or even 3 ft apart. Standing to shoulder to shoulder protesting schools are not safe seems to me not practicing what you preach.
Look at this from the website below:
Teachers unions have steadily amped up their political involvement: From 2004 to 2016, their donations grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million -- an all-time high. Even more than most labor unions, they have little use for Republicans, giving Democrats at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990, where our data begins.
Another concern with the Union is educators getting vaccinated before others in order to return to school. With the education system BLM, white privilege, etc. they should not be skipping the line. If they are of age or in another category to get it first, the should. If not, then they should wait like everyone else. Isn't that what equality means? Why do they get to be vaccinated before store clerks, waitresses, truck drivers, etc.? You get the idea.
This is the difference between the UNION and Teachers. The union is a select few speaking for millions. What about the teachers who do not agree with this? There are many but as stated above, they have reasons for not speaking up.
My last concern and number one for me is "safety". What about the increased suicide rate for kids and teens? What about the overdose, self-harm, depression and anxiety rates increasing so fast that those in my line of work cannot keep up. Why is this not a "safety" concern? I think if anyone has been following me on social media you know my stance on this.
Info on MCAS – Do I have a choice?
MCAS during COVID – YES! You have a voice and a choice!
If parents are concerned about another stressor on their students this year, I want to make sure you have this information.
In elementary and middle school (K-8) a parent CAN have their child opt out of testing.
You can do this by contacting the principal at the school before the test dates. You need to do this before the test is administered.
Once you have done that the principal decides if the student should;
- attend school and be given other assignments and remain in the classroom.
- be removed from class during testing to an alternative room
-stay in the room and read quietly.
-the proctor CANNOT encourage the student to take the test if they stay in the classroom.
The 95 % participation rate (amount of students taking the test) does NOT need to be met in each school this year due to COVID.
In order to graduate high-school you still have to pass the MCAS as of 3/11/21.
In previous years schools (pre-COVID) if the 95% participation rate (students taking the test) was not met the Principal of that school was held accountable and could possibly be fired.
Funding or any money will NOT be lost due to the participation rate this year.
Even if the 95% rate goes down this year NO money will be lost to the school and NO penalties to principals will be given.
More data on how to graduate if you have a failed MCAS and how to still graduate.
· In 2002, an MCAS Performance Appeals process was established for students who have been unable to demonstrate the required performance level on MCAS tests to show through their coursework that they have the knowledge and skills to meet or exceed the passing standard. When granted, a performance appeal is not a waiver of Competency Determination (“CD”) requirements, but an optional means of earning the CD.
Why we have MCAS now and how it helps detect deficiencies in the curriculum as a district.
Dighton-Rehoboth School District
District leaders analyzed 2016 MCAS data and recognized that more work was needed to strengthen students’ performance in ELA, math, and science. To that end, the superintendent, central office staff, principals, and teachers have worked on upgrading instructional strategies and increasing professional development support for educators in ELA, math, and special education. As of 2020, D-R is now in the category of having made substantial progress towards targets, which the results of the 2016 MCAS data helped to identify.
Transparency with our School Committee
This is a simple answer. In my experience I have found that the SC does not give information out in a timely manner. Questions have to be asked repeatedly for information regarding anything. During the SC meetings when questions are asked they are sometimes not answered and an excuse is “I do not the information in front of me.” Why? Or if they do not have the information, why isn’t the response, “I will get that to you - what is your email?” Or even, “Let me look that up now and get back to you later on in this meeting.” The SC is being sued by the town of Rehoboth for this exact thing. So, I am not the only one that sees this. All I want to do and will do once elected is answer questions directly and specifically. If I do not know the answer, I will find it and I will respond timely. Sometimes a mom or woman is better than the FBI. Yes, that is a joke…. Or is it?? :)
I will keep updating this page please check back. I will NOT debate any longer on social media. I teach by example and will not teach my daughter and step-daughter to be anything but respectful on social media and in real life. I practice what I preach.